I spend a lot of time on the Fine Art America forums. It gets rather addictive bantering back and forth about art, photography, selling techniques, promotion, marketing and the state of fine art photography and the art market. Typically the regular discussion is interrupted by a new member who, after posting two or three photographs or artwork, wants to know the secrets to successful selling their artwork on a print on demand website such as Fine Art America. Basically they are impatient and want shortcuts to the top. Problem is that there is no shortcuts to success.
I’ve offered my own “secret” tips for overnight success. I started to sell consistently on Fine Art America after having over 1,000 pieces for sale and doing constant marketing over the past few years. Here is the secret to overnight success:
1. Have a large volume of top notch work.
The chances of someone liking a certain piece so much that they are willing to purchase it and hang it in there home are astronomical. Only by having a wide range of work are you likely to find enough buyers.
2. Have a large volume of work that is different than others i.e. stands out.
So much of the offerings on Fine Art America are overdone and down right boring. Who really needs another squirrel photograph or another vacation photograph taken at the same spot in the same National Park at the same time?
It takes time to build a body of work, become known and for the search engines to find the piece. Buyers also take time considering artwork. It might take months for a buyer to actually commit to a purchase.
4. Good keywords and description
If people can’t find your work in the first place, how will it ever sell?
5. Off site marketing
Just uploading a piece and then sitting back and thinking it will sell is not a selling strategy. Also promoting it only to fellow artists is not going to sell the piece. Other artists have enough of their own stuff to sell.
Yes, more time. Things don’t happen overnight. Think career not job.
7. Cross referencing of various social media all pointing to your work.
You need multiple links back to your work in order for it to rank higher in the search engines. Blog, Facebook, Linkin, newspaper articles. You need to get the word out, far and wide.
More time building your skills, adding to your portfolio, and networking.
9. Offer what people want to purchase
Creating abstract complex artwork is all well and good but is it something the average person would want to hang in their home? You don’t have to cater to the masses, but it would help if more than just you and your mother can appreciate the artwork.
Even more time. It has been said that it takes three years to build a business and most people quit before one year. Create a marketing plan that goes out five years. Don’t view your art career as a short term project.
What does it take to sell on a consistent basis? Take this advice from Sharon Cummings a very successful online art seller:
“I used to spend a few minutes a day on marketing….I would sell a print here and there…not much….Now I spend about 4 hours a day on marketing and about 4 hours a day on creating…I sell 3 prints per day on average….it may be up to 4 per say this month…..that’s an 8 hour day….do I like to market that much? Heck no!!! But if I had any other job, I guarantee there would be at least 4 hours a day worth of stuff I didn’t want to do….and given the jobs I could get with my skills outside of art….it would be 8 hours a day doing something I didn’t like….so I am more than happy to work that hard to sell my art…its how I make sales, move up in search to be seen and hence make more sales. ” – Sharon Cummings